Dutch PM slams farmers for ‘intimidating’ top minister with burning torches

Dutch PM slams farmers for ‘intimidating’ top minister with burning torches
Опубликовано: Monday, 20 February 2023 15:09

‘Unacceptable’ what happened to Sigrid Kaag, says Mark Rutte.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was "unacceptable" that Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag was confronted by farmers holding burning torches at a campaign event over the weekend.

"Demonstrating is allowed, but intimidating politicians must stop," he said Monday on Twitter, adding that "if you disagree with each other, you normally start the conversation."

A group of farmers prevented Kaag from entering a cultural center in the Dutch town of Diepenheim on Sunday, with some of them holding flaming torches.

Rutte said it was "unacceptable what happened to Sigrid Kaag last night," adding that, "Politicians should be able to do their job freely."

Dutch farmers have long been protesting government plans to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia, which could require farmers to use less fertilizer and reduce their livestock numbers, and force some farms to shut.

Kaag’s social liberal party Democrats 66 has been at the forefront of the push for drastic reductions of nitrogen emissions.

The farmer protests became more radical last year, with farmers blocking supermarkets, distribution centers and roads.

Kaag was in Diepenheim for political meetings and campaigning for her party ahead of provincial council elections. Polls in the 12 Dutch provinces are scheduled for March 15.

The action group Strijders Twente (translation: Warriors of Twente, the municipality where Diepenheim is located) had called upon residents to give Kaag a "warm welcome," local media reported.

According to campaign manager Hanneke van der Werf, Kaag tried to talk to the crowd, but went inside after 10 minutes "because the protesters didn’t really want to talk."

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